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10 Things to KNOW About Camping in Torres del Paine National Park

10 Things to KNOW About Camping in Torres del Paine National Park

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Torres del Paine National Park offers some of the most spectacular hikes in Latin America! And I should know, I’ve actually been twice completing both the “W-Trek” and “O-Circuit” (within the last few years!).

If you want to complete a longer multi-day trail in the Torres del Paine National Park, chances are you are thinking of camping. Camping is significantly cheaper than the Refugios and accommodation options in the park along the trails.

However, it may not always be super obvious how to go about booking the needed campsites.

There are three companies in charge of the 11 different campsites so things can get confusing quickly – as I found out!

So for that reason, in this blog, I have laid out all of the information about camping in the Torres del Paine National Park including information on each individual campsite with how to book, the prices, and amenities offered.

Please Note: I just completed the o-circuit in December 2019, so all of the information in this blog is up to date and accurate based on my own actual findings being in the Torres del Paine National Park.

1. What time of year can I camp inside Torres del Paine National Park?

woman poses in Torres del Paine national park all bunled up
Sometimes it gets windy, and cold!

If you are coming specifically to hike the W or O trek (and camp!) then you will need to keep in mind the annual closings due to poor conditions. As currently stated in September of 2022 on CONAF’s website, “From May 1, mountain circuits “W” (until October) and Macizo Paine “O” (until November) are closed: only groups with specialized guides and with exclusive permission will be allowed”.

However, there are a few other trails inside of the park that are open during this time of the year including Torres Base, Pingo-Chorrillo Los Salmones, Pingo-Ferrier, and Sarmiento-Laguna Amarga day trails.

The best and most popular times of the year to plan on trekking the O or W routes typically stretch from October to April with the peak of crowds visiting during December, January, and February. During these months you can camp without any problems – just be prepared for all weather conditions with the right gear!

2. Do I need to stay at campsites or can I camp anywhere within the national park?

a campsite in torres del paine national park
You must camp within allocated campsites! This one, in particular, is Los Perros which is visited by hikers completing the O-Circuit.

Torres del Paine camping is ONLY allowed at allocated campsites. There are a total of 11 different campsites within Torres del Paine National Park. It is a federal offense that Chile takes very seriously if you try to stay overnight anywhere outside of the allocated campsites.

Related Read: During your visit, here are some Chile highlights you just have to do!

3. Do I need to book Torres del Paine campsites in advance?

The torres
The Torres at sunrise!

YES!

Since 2016, it has become compulsory to have a booking of campsites in the park if you plan on staying overnight! You cannot just show up and be allowed to stay the night without proof of your campsite bookings.

Before you enter the national park, rangers will ask to see your bookings. There are also “check-stops” along the trail where rangers will want to see all of your bookings (campsite or accommodation bookings.) For this reason, be sure to print your camping confirmations and bring them with you.

Without sorting out all of your Torres del Paine campsites in advance, you will not be allowed in the national park and face the risk of a fine.

Related Read: If you don’t want to miss out on your opportunity to see the regions wildlife, read our guide on how to see penguins in Punta Arenas.

4. How far in advance should I book the Torres del Paine camping spots?

Walking the suspension bridges on the Torres del Paine trek just past Campamento Grey
Walking the suspension bridges on the Torres del Paine trek just past Campamento Grey

If hiking the Torres del Paine is on your list of must-visit places in Chile, then booking in advance is the only way to ensure you get the experience you desire.

In terms of “how long in advance”, the popularity of this national parking is escalating in recent years, with a high year of 300,000 visitors in 2020, right before the pandemic hit, which led to obvious dips immediately following – but I’m sure that won’t last long so you will want to get as long of a headstart as possible.

Especially because of the new booking system available for the 2022/2023 season which allows you to book from each of the 3 companies all in one place with BookingPatagonia. This causes a lot less confusion which will incentivize more tourists to easily book a hiking route in Torres del Paine.

For the peak season of December, January and February, I recommend booking as soon as the bookings become available. To do this, you need to check BookingPatagonia’s website or each site’s booking website periodically or follow the companies that own the campsites on Facebook. Typically the bookings will open at least 4-5 months before the start of peak season.

It sounds like a pain, and it is. But believe me, if you want to secure a spot at the most beautiful campsites, then you need to do this.

Hot Tip: If you are unsure of your exact travel dates, consider reviewing the cancellation policy from each provider. This way you may be able to reserve a couple of different dates while planning. Note: Any cancellation or modification must be requested 46 days before check-in for all cases if using BookingPatagonia.

5. How do I know which campsites to book?

I could literally write an entire blog about different Torres del Paine routes, but the truth is that you need to decide what works best for you.

Some things to decide and think about before deciding where you will camp and your Torres del Paine route are:

  1. Your fitness level – how far will you be able to walk each day comfortably
  2. Where do you want to start or finish – The two entrances and exits to the park: at the Las Torres Hotel and Paine Grande Camping and Refugio.
  3. How many nights do you want to spend in the park – if you have more time, then consider hiking the entire O-circuit.

Using the interactive map above, you can see where all of the campsites are and their relative locations. This can help you determine in which order you need to book them.

Of course, you won’t stay at every campsite and you must select the ones that work for your chosen route!

If you need help deciding on a route, keep reading, we have written a section at the bottom of this blog about ideal routes and camping to go along with them!

6. Where do I book camping in the Torres del Paine?

Los Perros campsite. That building is where the bathrooms and cooking shelter is.

All campsites in Torres del Paine National Park can be booked online in advance.

Three different companies own all of the campsites in Torres del Paine: Fantasticosur, Vertice, and CONAF. Each company has its own website and booking system where you can book their camping. As you can imagine, this can get a bit tricky when you have to switch between the different websites, check availabilities, and make sure you’re booking the right accommodation for the right night.

Fortunately, new for the 2022/2023 season, the website BookingPatagonia has made this a lot easier by enabling you to book with all 3 companies at the same time.

Here is a list of all of the campsites owned by each company:

Vertice: Paine Grande, Grey, Los Perros, and Dickson

Fantasticosur: Seron, Chileno, Frances, Cuernos, and Central

Conaf: Paso, Italiano (Las Torres campsite is now permanently closed)

Related Read: If you want more hiking ideas check out the best hikes in South America that you’ll want to add to your list.

7. What happens if the campsites are already fully booked?

Camping at Camp Dickson on the torres del Paine O Circut
Camp Dickson on the O-circuit is one of my favorite campsites!

So, you left it a little too late and it seems like some of the campsites you want to stay at are fully booked…don’t worry, you aren’t completely out of options yet.

Here are some options if Torres del Paine camping is already booked up:

1. Stay in Refugios or Pre-Setup Tents

Camping in the Torres del Paine is obviously the cheapest way to stay overnight in the park. But, if camping if already booked then you might need to look at staying in Refugios (basic accommodation facilities) or pre-setup tents (tents already set up tents complete with sleeping pads and sleeping bags.)

Although not the most cost-effective method, they are more luxurious options and worth the splurge if it means you get to hike in the Torres del Paine National Park!

2. Try and secure campsites once arriving in Puerto Natales

All of the companies that own campsites within Torres del Paine National Park have offices in Puerto Natales. It has been rumored that if you go directly into these offices and speak to them in person, you may be able to book a camping spot that is “fully booked” online.

This is somewhat risky though because if it doesn’t work, you may be stuck with only visiting the Torres del Paine National Park on day trips from Puerto Natales.

3. Book an organized tour

Yes, it will be expensive. But, this might be your only option! There are some great Torres del Paine tours available and many of them include nicer accommodation, gear rental, food, a guide, and more!

For example, this Guided Torres del Paine W Trek lasts 5 days and includes all transport from Puerto Natales to the national park, your entry ticket, all accommodations, and your return catamaran for the Lake Pehoe Crossing.

Check out some more great tours in Torres del Paine here!

You can also just stay at one of the amazing hotels in Torres del Paine National Park and then do some shorter day hikes from there! Or book this super personal Private Full Day Torres del Paine Tour that visits all of the key spots inside the park with transport from Punta Arenas.

8. What is provided at the Torres del Paine camping spots, and what do they each cost?

restaurant at refugio grey
Not all of the campsites are the same. This is the luxurious restaurant and bar at Refugio and Camp Grey! So fancy!

At all of the campsites there are toilets (some flush, some not) and flat areas to camp. But not all of the campsites in the Torres are created equal. In fact, some campsites are much more luxurious than others but that comes with a heftier price tag.

Below is detailed info on each campsite including the cost per night and what you can expect to find at the campsite (they are in order from the trailhead at Hotel Las Torres counterclockwise around the entire O-circuit.)

Me, smiling in the outdoor cooking shelter at El Paso campsite. It is one of the free campsites so the facilities are very basic.

Camping Central

  • Owner: Fantasticosur
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flush toilets and hot water for showers, convenience store, wifi (paid), full restaurant and bar, equipment rental.
  • Types of accommodation available: Campsites, pre-setup tents, dorm beds.
  • Prices: $25 USD per person, an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. $70 USD for a pre-setup campsite per person and an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. Single bed in a shared room: $125 USD

Camping Seron

  • Owner: Fantasticosur
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers, an outdoor cooking shelter with cover, some items available for purchase, cafeteria, wifi for purchase, and equipment rental.
  • Types of accommodation available: Camping, pre-setup tent.
  • Price: Campsite is $20 USD per person, a $12 USD fee is added in addition for single occupancy. $70 USD for a pre-setup campsite for two people. $12 USD fee is added in addition for single occupancy.

Camping Dickson

  • Owner: Vertice Patagonia
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers, food and drink services, a small convenience store, indoor and outdoor cooking area with running water.
  • Types of accommodation available: Camping sites, pre-setup tent with an option for equipment rentals, dorm beds.
  • Price: $9 USD per person for camping. 2 person tent $29.00 USD, sleeping bag $22.00 USD (per person, per night), mat $7.00 USD (per person, per night). Dorm beds: Sextuple room (per night) $228.00 USD. Quintuple room (per night) $190.00 USD. Quadruple room (per night) $152.00 USD. Triple room (per night) $114.00 USD.

Los Perros Camping

  • Owner: Vertice Patagonia
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers, small convenience store, indoor and outdoor cooking area with running water.
  • Types of accommodation available: Camping sites, pre-setup tents.
  • Price: $9 USD per person for camping. Tent $29.00 USD (up to 2 people, per night), Sleeping bag $22.00 USD (per person, per night), mat $7.00 (per person, per night).

El Paso Camping

  • Owner: CONAF
  • Facilities: One pit toilet, one running water tap and sink, outdoor cooking shelter.
  • Types of accommodation available: Campsites only.
  • Price: FREE

Note: As of Sept 2022, all CONAF (free) campsites in the Torres del Paine are closed for repairs. They are expected to remain closed for the 2022/2023 hiking season and reopen for the 2023/2024 season.

Refugio Grey

  • Owner: Vertice Patagonia
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flush toilets and hot showers, a full restaurant and bar, an indoor cooking area with running water, a convenience store, computers available with internet, and equipment rentals.
  • Types of accommodation available: Camping sites, pre-setup tents, dorm beds.
  • Price: $9 USD per person for camping. Sextuple room (per night) $228.00 USD or a quadruple room (per night) $152.00 USD

Refugio and Camping Paine Grande

  • Owner: Vertice Patagonia
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers, convenience store, restaurant and bar, indoor cooking area with running water, internet (paid), and equipment rentals.
  • Types of Accommodation available: Camping sites, pre-setup tents, dorm beds.
  • Price: $9 USD per person for camping. Sextuple room (per night) $330.00 USD, Quadruple room (per night) $220.00 USD, Double room (per night) $110.00 USD

Camping Italiano

  • Owner: CONAF
  • Facilities: A couple of pit toilets (outhouses), an outdoor cooking shelter. ***There is no running water here and all water for cooking must be collected from the nearby river.
  • Types of accommodation available: Campsites only.
  • Price: FREE

Note: As of Sept 2022, all CONAF (free) campsites in the Torres del Paine are closed for repairs. They are expected to remain closed for the 2022/2023 hiking season and reopen for the 2023/2024 season.

Camping Frances

  • Owner: Fantasticosur
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flush toilets and hot water for showers, convenience store, tent platforms for tent campsites, restaurant, wifi (paid), equipment rental.
  • Types of accommodation available: Campsites, pre-setup tents, dorm beds.
  • Price: $25 USD per person, an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. $70 USD for a pre-setup campsite per person and an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. $125 USD per person for a fully-made dorm bed.

Camping Los Cuernos

  • Owner: Fantasticosur
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers, cafeteria with food and drinks for purchase, convenience store, indoor cooking shelter, tent platforms.
  • Types of accommodation available: Camping, pre-setup tent, dorm beds, and private huts for 2-3 people.
  • Prices: $25 USD per person, an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. $70 USD for a pre-setup campsite per person and an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. Single bed in a shared room: $125 USD, Mountain Cabins with fully made beds $200 USD per person. Single occupancy supplement: $175 USD.

Camping Chileno

  • Owner: Fantasticosur
  • Facilities: Bathrooms with flushing toilets and hot showers, full restaurant and bar, some grocery items (snacks only) available for purchase, tent platforms for camping, boiling water available for free, wifi for purchase. Note: There is no cooking shelter at Chileno. You can access boiling water for free during the restaurant opening hours but you are not allowed to cook your own food (just a ploy to have you spend money at the restaurant.)
  • Types of accommodation available: Campsites, pre-setup tent, dorm beds.
  • Price: $25 USD per person, an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. $70 USD for a pre-setup campsite per person and an additional $12 USD for single occupancy. Single bed in a shared room: $125 USD

Related Read: If you’re spending time in the capital of Chile then here’s my list of the best things to do while in Santiago.

9. Booking the Torres del Paine Camping – A Guide to Choosing your route

map of distances on w trek and o circuit for torres del paine hike
The red trail is the “w trek”, while the yellow trail is the “O” which connects with the red at Refugio Grey. Entrance/exit points at Hotel Las Torres on the right side, or Refugio Paine Grande on the left. Photo Credit: Fantasticosur

As mentioned above, the hike can be completed in 1 to 9 days. However, for most travelers, you will likely be completing either the “O-circuit” or “W-trek”.

Booking the Torres del Paine Camping areas online is the same for both the “W” and the “O”. The only difference is the “O” requires 3-4 more campsites on the back-end of the park.

The red trail on the photo above is the “W” Trek that can be started from either direction. The yellow trail is the start of the “O” that joins to the “W” to make the 8-day trek.

The “W” Trek

The ferry to start the Torres del Paine camping
On the ferry to Paine Grande to start our first day to Refugio Grey!

The “W trek” is the more popular of the two and involves 3 to 5 days of hiking through the front section of the park stopping at many amazing attractions.

Highlights include Glacier Gray, The French Valley, and the Torres. This trek can be completed in both directions.

The first thing you need to decide (if you’re doing the W) is what direction you’re going to go. I personally went anti-clockwise starting at Paine Grande and finishing my last night at Chileno site near Hotel Las Torres exit.

I recommend this route as it will give you the opportunity to visit the Torres on your last morning for sunrise! It is the perfect way to end your hike!

The below route I outline below is both the cheapest and most ideal for those completing the W (and also the route I took.)

Day 1 – Entrance to Refugio Grey (11 km/6.8 mi) – Head into the park and take the bus and ferry to the Refugio Paine Grande. From there, hike to Refugio Grey and stay one night.

Day 2 – Refugio Grey to Camping Italiano (19 km/11.8 mi) – Leave Refugio Grey and hike back down towards Refugio Paine Grande and continue on the Camping Italiano. Stay the night here.

Day 3 Camping Italiano to Camping Frances (15 km/9.3 mi) – Pack up your tent and leave your gear with the rangers at Camping Italiano and hike up the French Valley and back to collect your gear. This hike is only a few hours and is relatively easy without your pack. Afterward, continue on to Camping Frances and stay the night.

Day 4Camping Frances to Camping Chileno (19 km/11.8 mi) – Leave Camping Frances and hike all the way to Camping Las Torres to stay the night. This is where the Torres del Paine is. If you want you could hike up to the Torres that afternoon, or wait until morning for sunrise.

Day 5 Chileno to Las Torres Viewpoint to Las Torres Hotel (exit) (13 km/8.1 mi) – Get up at 3 am (check sunrise time with the ranger and allow 2 hours to hike up) and leave for the Las Torres viewpoint, leaving your gear behind. Spend the morning watching the sunrise over the Torres, then hike down to exit the park!

For more information, check out my complete guide to the Torres del Paine W Trek!

The “O” Circuit

camping along the o circuit on the torres del paine trail
Some of the camping in the Torres is located in gorgeous spots!

The “O” circuit is the 8 or 9-day option and this hike can only be completed in an anti-clockwise direction. This starts at the Las Torres Hotel. The circuit takes you right around the park ending in the same spot as you started and includes all the stops of the “W” circuit.

The route outlined below is for the “O” and is the ideal route as recommended by most hostels. I personally did not complete the “O”, however, after much research, this does seem to be the most popular route.

Day 1 – Las Torres Hotel to Camp Seron – 13 km (8.1 mi), 4 to 5 hours

Day 2 – Seron to Dickson – 19 km (11.1 mi), 7 to 8 hours

Day 3 – Dickson to Los Perros – 11 km (6.8 mi), 5 to 6 hours

Day 4 – Los Perros to Paso Camp – 8 km (5 mi), 5 to 6 hours

Day 5 – Paso to Paine Grande – 18 km (11.2 mi), 8 to 9 hours

Day 6 – Paine Grande to Camp Italiano 7.5 km (4.7 mi), 2 to 3 hours (include the French Valley on this day (11km/6.8 mi), 5 hours)

Day 7 – Camp Italiano to Camping Chileno – 17.5 km (10.9 mi), 7 to 9 hours

Day 8 – Camping Chileno to Las Torres Viewpoint to Las Torres Hotel (exit) – 13 km (8.1 mi), 3 to 4 hours

The “O” also has to be completed from the Las Torres Hotel in an anticlockwise direction, so aside from staying at a few different campsites and maybe completing the hike slower (more expensive), this is the only way.

Torres del Paine camping spot 1
Thanks for reading!

The Torres del Paine was one of my highlights of my 16 month trip through Latin America. The amazing landscape is truly breathtaking and something that really makes you go…wow!

Being my first ever hiking trip I really over-researched the Torres del Paine and as such, have some more great info if you check out my Torres del Paine Complete Guide.

In my Torres el Paine Complete Guide I touch on getting the bus to the park, where to stay before, what to bring, getting to and from the park, and much more.

Related Read: Hiking in Torres del Paine just stratches the surface of activities in Patagonia, if you want more inspiration, read what other amazing things there are to do in Patagonia.

10. Important documents to bring with you to Torres del Paine

Great, so you’ve chosen your route and booked all of your accommodations and you’re about to head off to Patagonia. But wait, don’t forget these important documents or you may run into some issues.

Proof of accommodations – At each campsite or refugio you will need to check in and when you do you will need to show proof of purchase so make sure to bring out a printed copy for each site you will be staying at. You can also show them a digital email receipt but that’s riskier on the occasion your phone dies. They are strict will this and aren’t afraid to turn people away.

Passport and PDI slip – The rates charged for park admission are in USD for non-residents visiting Chile who have been inside the country for under 60 days.

To prove where you came from, I would recommend carrying not only your passport but also your tourist migrant PDI slip that you would have filled out at the airport. These will also help match who you say you are to any of your accommodation bookings too.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey in Patagonia
Thanks for reading!

Patagonia is beautiful and the Torres del Paine is a must-see for any traveler! But, there are many other amazing places to check out in Patagonia. Read some of our other informative blogs about popular (and amazing) destinations in Patagonia! Or, browse these related guides below!

21 Things to do in El Calafate

Review of Trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier

The BEST Things to do in Bariloche

8 Spectacular Day Trips from El Calafate That Will Blow Your Mind!

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raymond

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

if you book a indiviadul campsite and only rent their tent, is it pre set up?? we will have our own sleeping bags.

destinationlesstravel

Wednesday 14th of June 2023

Hey Raymond,

Yes the tents are pre setup.

Thanks Daniel

Gustavo Pergher

Thursday 1st of June 2023

Hello, thank you very much for the great and explanatory text!

One question, what is the "an additional $12 USD for single occupancy"? Is it the price per tent?

destinationlesstravel

Friday 2nd of June 2023

Hey Gustavo,

So yes it costs $37.00 for 1 person in 1 tent or $50 for two people in one tent ($25 per person.)

Thanks Daniel

Maggie and Richard

Tuesday 20th of March 2018

We love Torres del Paine. We did the O in 4 or 5 days!! Very tired after that.

Destinationless Travel

Tuesday 20th of March 2018

Wow, that is so quick! You guys must be good hikers! Have you done any hiking from Huaraz in Peru? Some beautiful spots there too!